Digging through my collection of pictures I come across this collection of Mon. I’ve been fascinated by these heraldic devices for a while and wondered what the rules were governing them. Well, Wikipedia to the rescue:

Mon (紋?)(plural mon), also monshō (紋章?), mondokoro (紋所?), and kamon (家紋?), are Japanese heraldic symbols. Mon may refer to any symbol, while kamon and mondokoro refer specifically to family symbols. Mon serve roughly similar functions to badges, crests and family crests in European heraldry.

A mon consists of a roundel encircling a design (such as feathers, flowers, or some man-made object). They are somewhat like coats of arms in that they are either associated with a particular clan or family, or an individual who has achieved some variety of public recognition. The designs are usually stylised versions of traditional Japanese themes, such as bamboo. Artists may choose something symbolising their art; a fan design might be chosen by a geisha.

I love Wikipedia. Interesting that people nowadays use the inkan instead. I’ve always wanted to do my own inkan - as it closely resembles the western form of printer’s mark. I really want to have my own Mon too, though. What kind of Mon would a designer/photographer/typographer have though? And would it be considered unforgivably gauche for a westerner to create their own? Well dammit, I want one. Maybe I could just use the crown image from this site…

Shine Through

I love this. I love the way the star and crescent make such clear shadows on the ground. Go take a look at this post on Jan Chipchase’s site for more pics.


It’s Helvetica’s birthday this week. What better present to get it than to buy an actual genuine licensed copy of the font?

How To Make A Pig

That’s how, apparently. I love the image, but I suspect there’s a portion of style over content going on there. I can’t help but think that there are some very important (but less visually appealing) steps missing.

This is one of those images I have that I can’t find the source of.

Love the ‘g’

Seen on a trailer on Hallmark for ‘Intelligence’. Love that ‘g’. Using the amazing ‘What The Font’ tool on MyFonts I’ve identified this as Libel Suit.

Beautiful Lettering

Another one I had to do some clever re-Googling for. A while back I was sent a link to Si Scott’s portfolio site. Once you get past the mystery-meat navigation, you’re in for a treat.

You know that floral, bling style that’s been so popular lately that it’s rapidly becoming a cliché? Well, this guy is the master of it - so much so I wouldn’t lump him in with the rest of them. I think his work is too finely executed to be called a cliché. Check these out.

One Hell of a 5

Found on KSTP Twin Cities News. I love that 5! So much so, I had to sketch it.

Arabic Calligraphy

I recently rediscovered Mouneer Al-Shaárani’s work after trawling Google Images for the original of an image I had saved. His portfolio site has had (see update below) some wonderful examples of quite remarkable calligraphy on it. The three examples of his work below show some of what’s possible with Arabic calligraphy, which may well be unreadable, but is definitely beautiful.

It’s also worth checking this collection of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic calligraphy on this post on BibliOdyssey. I gather from reading around the subject that the idea of doing this may have come from the prohibition on creating images of animals - this isn’t a picture of the animal, it’s just a description of it, written down. Whether that’s true or not is open to interpretation, but it makes a nice story. Would that defence stand up in court, I wonder?

Update (May 2009): The portfolio site is now some crappy link-farming thing. Some of his work is available for sale on Artnet though.

Tiny Bit of Inspiration

The start of a new, much-needed category: Pictures Found Online. When it comes to browsing, I’m a bit of a magpie. Anything that I want to look at in more detail or inspires me, I grab a copy of it in case it disappears offline or I lose track of it. Unfortunately, over the years the latter concern has proved itself as I’ve lost track of where I found almost all of these things. To add to the confusion, some of them were sent to me by friends and relatives, “You might like this…” so I’ve even less chance of finding where they’re from. I’m going to put up examples of them as I go through my big stack of images, and hope that someone will point me to the original source (and allow me to give correct credit).

So yes, at right. A little label that has inspired a few titles and design treatments of mine over the years.

Les Cités Obscures

I read this article on BLDGBLOG a while back, and immediately wanted, yes wanted all of them. I’d sort of kept it in mind with thoughts of a few projects I wanted to do, but hadn’t really hunted down the books. Then, last night, a French colleague from work presented me with L’Archiviste! She’d bought it on a trip back to France, and obviously knows me quite well. Today I also bought this from Funny how I hadn’t even thought of that when I first came across it.